Summer ends now, barbarous in beauty… I wish I could claim to have written that, but the truth is it is the beginning of one of the many poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins that tears my heart out whenever I read it.
Yesterday I woke up and stepped outside and it felt like a fall morning. I felt dread and nostalgia and sadness, not because it wasn’t beautiful, but because autumn is wrapped up in a million sadnesses and emotions I don’t quite understand.
People always say they love this time of year, and I just as quickly shout that I hate it, because I know the danger of the sadness that might come. But the truth is, it is beautiful. New england’s yearly change from green to fiery reds and oranges, temperatures that make you much more aware of your skin, even the encroaching sunsets are beautiful.
Maybe that’s why it makes me so sad, why I grieve over goldengrove unleaving It is beautiful – Everything is beautiful – and none of it lasts. I know that the things that matter last, or at least I am able to ignore the transience of things, most of the year. And then fall comes with it’s rapid changes and barbarous beauty and I am hit in the face with the truth that nothing we love ever lasts as long as we want it to. It can’t.
I wrote the following just about ten years ago, and haven’t shared it with anyone until now. Im still not convinced it is not totally dumb.
I shouldn’t try to pray during sunset in october,
When sunlight fades through stained glass and brightness turns to grey.
God reminds my would every sunset in october
How much there is that changes when nighttime meets the day.
My roommate is asleep now so I cant turn the light on,
The porch light starts to brighten, I’m reminded of what’s gone.
The sunlight, come from heaven, has withdrawn all of it’s blessings.
As if it hopes to cheer me, the porch lamp has come on.
“when will come the sunrise?” I’ve cried so many midnights
As if my tearful pleading could expedite the dawn.
Perhaps I’ll be rewarded when the shadows all are lifted
With infinite reflections off dewdrops on the lawn.
Leslie Healey (@1healigan) says
This is beautiful: I, too, feel as if autumn is a prayer itself. There is something about the golden quality of light in the afternoon that catches in my throat. Even though I know it signals rough weather, I look forward to it every year. So right now I am missing the smell of red clover, because almost nobody has to mow their lawns again, but I am counting the days and nights until the light goes golden.